Friday, April 18, 2008

School and Home

I. Today was Nutmeg's visit day in the nursery school classroom she will attend next fall. We got to meet her teachers and several of her future classmates, as well as the class fishes. I am really excited about this school and Nutmeg is too. She happily played with the sand table, painted watercolors and checked out a bin of rubbery snakes.

Because she's still feeling tired and low from her illness (and maybe all the meds, we're not sure), she was uncharacteristically low key. She even buried her face in my dress when we first arrived and she met the teachers, and those of you who know her know that was the first time that ever happened.

We'll see the teachers two more times before next fall. They'll be having a picnic in August, they said, and the teachers will come visit us at home once. Wow. Like I said, I love this school.

Here's one of the things that make me feel like it's a good choice: One of the room teachers told me she first came to the school as a parent. Her daughter is my age. The teacher was teaching grade school at the time, but she loved this nursery so much she took a job there instead. So yeah, her teacher has been there for THIRTY YEARS. And she's not the only one.

II. My in-laws' dear Shetland Sheepdog, Indy, passed on yesterday. Despite his (at best) ambivalence to her, Nutmeg loved this dog more than any other animal on earth. Every time we drive to this set of grandparents' house, she chatters about seeing Indy and how excited he will be to see her.

We're going there tomorrow. So I thought I'd better drop the bomb today. We were gardening this afternoon. I gave her a worm, and she named it "Somerset." I thought, this is a good time to talk about how we love pets but they don't live forever.

So I talked about how worms might only live a few days (in the custody of Nutmeg, that is), how dogs live 10 years or more, and that people live a long, long time. But we all die.

She was with me. Then I said that an animal we know had died.

"Indydog died, honey," I told her, giving her a hug.
She laughed.
"You're joking," she said.
I asked if she wanted to call Grandma to talk about it.
"No," she said. "Somerset doesn't want to hear about that."

And that's how we left it. I think she knows I'm not joking, but she doesn't want to deal with it now, or can't, so we'll let it go until tomorrow.

And we'll miss you, Indy. You were a good dog.

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